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April, 2008:

Father to Son

Bearing in mind that my co-conspiritor probably still doesn’t know who or what Lindsay Lohan is* then I’d be surprised if he was too au fait with Pete Docherty and his amusing antics.

Pete Doherty is currently in the Scrubs doing 14 weeks for a parole violation. He is an inveterate junkie and got kicked out of the band that made his name, The Libertines, for his heroin use. The final straw was when, desperate for cash for heroin, he burgled the guitarist’s flat and stole his guitar to pawn it. Since then he’s been most famous for being Kate Moss’s boyfriend (sometimes). I think he’s a complete tosser. NME readers would appear to disagree.

We have gone downhill. This guy is being lauded as counter-culture musical hero despite being kicked out of his band before the release of their first album. Hardly compares with the antics of Their Satanic Majesties, The Rolling Stones. Or Bowie, or The Who or even Queen who once allegedly had a party which featured dwarfs with saucers of cocaine strapped to their heads, allegedly. They’re all still going 30+ years on. Well Queen aren’t exactly but you can’t blame the lads for that (it would be a truly remarkable comeback tour!) and Brian May has taken the downtime to complete the PhD in Astrophysics he abandoned to play for Queen. He is also rated by Rolling Stone Magazine as the “39th best guitarist of all time”, has a CBE and as well as his recent PhD, he already had an honourary doctorate in music. Shame about the mad hair, though.

Doherty abandoned Eng Lit in his first year at Queen Mary. The place has quite a rep for it. Brett Anderson (Suede) and Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) both abandoned QM for music (and did rather well). I did my MSc there so why am I sitting in a shed fixing bust Dells and not playing Wembley Arena? Why? I could quite take to a Rock ‘n Roll lifestyle and I wouldn’t make a complete twat of myself like Doherty clearly has.

We don’t do Rock ‘n Roll “rebellion” like we used to. It used to be glorious chaos but now we have Britney flashing her minge**, Pete Docherty falling over (a lot) and Amy Winehouse getting nicked for hitting people who picked her up after she fell over (again) ripped to the tits on ketamine (a horse tranquiliser). It used to be driving Rolls-Royces into swimming pools and Oliver Reed landing in a ‘copter on Keith Moon’s mansion lawn and Moon taking pot-shots at it. It used to be real cool stuff. Reed and Moon later became firm friends. All of the above are only alleged to have happened.

Now we have this bunch of scallies. Matt, from Busted, allegedly, once defenestrated a Corby trouser-press from the Birmingham Hilton. Oh, fuck me sideways! Is that what the glorious anarchy of popular music is reduced to?

Anyway, so what is Doherty (our great hero) doing whilst in chokey? He’s reading the Qu’ran.

Cat Stevens, the sequel.

It’s pathetic.

*I do know who Lindsay Lohan is. I just don’t know what she’s for.
** When Ditta von Teese does it on stage it’s sexy. When a washed-up popstar getting out of a taxi does it it’s pathetic.

Catch of the day

At 1090 lbs and 33 ft long, this is no good for calamari rings, more calamari hula hoops.
It would keep me fed for weeks.

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Canadian Human Rights

As partially pointed out here:

The Canadian Human Rights Commissions have curtailed or abolished -

  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of conscience
  • Freedom of religious belief
  • Freedom of association
  • Property rights
  • Contract rights
  • Gay rights
  • Presumption of innocence
  • The right to a speedy trial
  • The right to a trial
  • And truth as a defence.

All in the cause of protecting feelings from being hurt.

Does anyone seriously believe that the intolerant left in the UK and Australia (here, here, here) don’t have the same aims?

I want my civilisation back.

Discussed

The movie Expelled has generated a bit of discussion here and there around the net, and over the last couple of days I have taken part in a couple of comment threads on Samizdata on the topics of Darwin, evolution and design. And by design, I mean this thread, where the Intelligent Designer is assumed to be a human engineer.

I watched the trailer from the Expelled site, and was struck by the message given. At the beginning the scene is set by a schoolroom question – “How did life begin in the first place?” and the faked inability of the teacher to answer is used to propose – “Could there have been an intelligent designer?”

This approach is called The God of the Gaps; “I have no explanation for this observation, there is a gap in my knowledge, therefore it must be the action of God”.

I don’t know what the sun is, therefore it must be the god Apollo doing something divine. I don’t know what lightening is, therefore it must be God acting according to His divine nature. I don’t know how life began, nobody will tell me, therefore it was God.

To fall into this logical trap is dangerous, for every increase in knowledge requires the believer to acknowledge that room to accommodate God has been reduced. Pushed to its limits, the God of the Gaps argument, rather than affirming the existence of God, can be used to question the need for a God at all. I would certainly argue, given the failure of the God of the Gaps in the past, that those who use it demonstrate ignorance of both history and of scientific endeavour in all areas. Ever since Principia was published, the gaps, and the need for a God to explain them, have been steadily diminished.

From Doug Craigen, a Christian writer who “gets it” -

As tempting as it may often be, it is a mistake to consider the failure of science to explain something as a proof of God’s work. Such failures are nothing more or less than a demonstration of how far science has progressed, and a pointer to where some progress still needs to be made. Believing in a great creator means not doubting the quality of His creation. It is ironic that we often try to prove the existence of God by claims that essentially say He isn’t such a great creator.

Me? Personally? Well, a biology teacher who can’t answer the question “How did life begin?” isn’t much of a biologist or a teacher. While the matter hasn’t been settled there is no dearth of hypotheses to present. My favourite? I recommend Graham Cairns-Smith‘s book – Genetic Takeover: And the Mineral Origins of Life. Fascinating reading.

Bussard

For those who have been following the Bussard fusion project, via this site -

Tom Ligon’s very readable article about the late Robert Bussard’s polywell fusion system that was published in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact is now available on line: The World’s Simplest Fusion Reactor Revisited or The Not-Quite-So-Simple Fusion Reactor, and How They Made it Work.

Guilt by association

As Norm discusses – To a Christian, guilt is something which must be acquired, or earned, personally. To a believing and practising Christian, guilt cannot be acquired through community membership. To a Christian, collective blame and punishment is anathema.

Does Barack Obama’s spiritual mentor really believe in the punishment of the innocent?

What message is the Reverend (?) Wright trying to give.

A Challenge

There is a continual hoo-hah in the USA over evolution vs. creationism (or ID* or whatever it decides to call itself).

So evolution is “just” a theory… Hell, it’s just something written down in some books by some guys. Could be right, could be wrong. Yeah, it’s a theory. I used to be an Astrophysicist so I know what a theory is. My favourite is Statistical Mechanics. You might think Josiah Willard Gibb’s Grand Canonical Ensemble was some sort of Victorian steam powered pipe-organ but you’d be wrong. It is the theoretical bridge between atoms and reality. But heck, Stat Mech is only a theory and remember that the next time you increase entropy. It could equally be the kerosine fairies. The two theories ought to be taught to pilots equally and side-by-side. That ought to make airline passengers feel safer, right?

There’s something else that was written in a book by some guys… It’s called Genesis.

So… If creationists want school biology text books stickered to indicate that evolution might “just” be a theory then can we have the same for their Bibles. I suggest the following wording:

The description of creation contained herein is just a theory invented by a group of bronze age tribes, orally propagated, and finally written down when someone knew how to. It is one of many competing theories.

Is that a deal?

I have a post-script. The whole argument that the two systems ought to taught side-by-side is incredibly similar to the argument for multiculturalism. The US religious right are using the techniques of the left.

*Back to the watch-maker and the tornado in the scrapyard assembling the 747 and all that utter shi’ite…)

No comment necessary

Down kittycat, down.

I want my civilisation back

Western society continues to be permeated by hatred, intolerance and bigotry – lovingly embraced and nurtured by the left.

Universal education, universal health care, greenery, human rights, multiculturalism, social justice, all fine on the  surface but taken and twisted by the left into tools of repression and control.

Time to act.

cri de coeur

John Derbyshire, on the movie Expelled -

For shame, Ben Stein, for shame. Stand up for your civilization, man! and all its glories. The barbarians are at the gate, as they always have been. Come man the defenses with us, leaving the liars and fools to their lies and folly.

If you go down to the woods today…

House of Lords Select Committee to the director of Greenpeace in 1999:

Q:Your opposition to the release of GMOs, that is an absolute and definite opposition… not one that is dependent on further scientific research?

A:It is a permanent and definite and complete opposition.

Right, the Greenpeace guy (Lord Melchett – I know!) needs to be rendered permanently and definitely and completely carbon-neutral. He could be mulched for organic fertilizer or something. I’m 34 and if I reach my dotage I don’t want to do it in a fucking cave, eating dung.

Let’s just run naked through the fields and crap in the woods (like Drew Barrymore) and die of stuff that a GP can sort out in 15 minutes and be natural and in touch with our inner Gaia and not play God at all. We are risen apes, let’s keep rising.

I met, at university, a guy who later won the Nobel prize for developing the MRI scanner (bit of a time lag, Noble-committee). What a tragedy if the diseases of my old-age have to instead be diagnosed by some deranged crone shaking dem bones (or if I go private, sacrificing a chicken).

I almost put this as a comment on Samizdata but it’s too good for Perry et al. Oh and I’ve also ranted along similar lines there recently. Do click that link, it’s priceless.

Mentalists

This is a little bit from Derren Brown’s most excellent book Tricks of the Mind. His debunking of Homeopathy is brilliant and it’s an all round great read and I’m not even getting a kick-back.

This from LBC Radio’s ‘psychic hour’…

CALLER: I have a house with a piano. Often at night, we’ll suddenly hear a note being played – High C – coming from the piano. We do have a lot of cats,* but it’s not any of them as the lid is down. Do you know what it could be?

MEDIUM: Well, there’s a couple of things it could be. A friend of mine is a piano tuner and he says that often, especially when the weather is getting hot, as it is at the moment, the internal workings of the piano can expand a little and cause a string here and there to pull at it’s hammer, which will result in a note being sounded. Apparently that can happen.

CALLER (unconvinced): Right, yeah, maybe…

MEDIUM: Or, you see, the High C note is a very resonant note energy-wise and will vibrate the chakras in the house, causing the fairies to sing. So it could be that too.

CALLER (delighted): Wow… yes, that sounds right. I mean perhaps it could be the strings expanding – sounds a bit far-fetched – but great, thank you, yes, I think you’re right. Thank you so much.

*No surprise there.

Some people shouldn’t be allowed out on their own.

Pearls of Wisdom

The most wonderful thing about appreciating the wonder of the Universe is that, in humanity, these is finally something that is capable of doing the appreciating.

Cats himself – At least I think it is original with me,

I can’t remember having read it anywhere.

Although I am probably wrong.

Beyond a joke

Mark Steyn has been spitting chips, he seems to have had a gutful of the self righteous, sanctimonious, hypocrisy which passes for rational argument by the ‘Greens’

Where to begin? For the last ten years, we have, in fact, been not warming but slightly cooling, which is why the eco-warriors have adopted the all-purpose bogeyman of “climate change.” But let’s take it that the editors of Time are referring not to the century we live in but the previous one, when there was a measurable rise of temperature of approximately one degree. That’s the “war”: one degree.

…
At least five people have been killed in food riots in Port-au-Prince. Prices have risen 40 percent since last summer and, as Deroy Murdock reported, some citizens are now subsisting on biscuits made from salt, vegetable oil and (mmmm) dirt. Dirt cookies: Nutritious, tasty, and affordable? Well, one out of three ain’t bad.

Unlike “global warming,” food rioting is a planet-wide phenomenon, from Indonesia to Pakistan to Ivory Coast to the tortilla rampages in Mexico and even pasta protests in Italy.
…
Well, Western governments listened to the eco-warriors, and introduced some of the “wartime measures” they’ve been urging. The EU decreed that 5.75 percent of petrol and diesel must come from “biofuels” by 2010, rising to 10 percent by 2020. The U.S. added to its 51 cents-per-gallon ethanol subsidy by mandating a five-fold increase in “biofuels” production by 2022.

The result is that big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry. When you divert 28 percent of U.S. grain into fuel production, and when you artificially make its value as fuel higher than its value as food, why be surprised that you’ve suddenly got less to eat? Or, to be more precise, it’s not “you” who’s got less to eat but those starving peasants in distant lands you claim to care so much about.

This is the issue to me, as Richard North has pointed out time and again, for the UK to meet its intended use of 10% biofuels would require fourteen million tons of wheat, as opposed to UK production of eleven million.

That is right, three million more than is currently produced, plus a need to import another ten million to eat. Seriously, where the fuck did they think it was going to come from? Al Gore?

For the EU as a whole? The biofuel mandate would require 70% of its available agricultural land. And that is before we eat anything.

Seriously, can these people count? Are they completely innumerate? Is this the standard of thought and consideration they put into every decision they make?

Is this the standard of ignorance and wishful thinking they apply to AGW itself? Can they even spell AGW?

Heigh-ho. In the greater scheme of things, a few dead natives keeled over with distended bellies is a small price to pay for saving the planet, right? Except that turning food into fuel does nothing for the planet in the first place. That tree the U.S. Marines are raising on Iwo Jima was most likely cut down to make way for an ethanol-producing corn field: Researchers at Princeton calculate that to date the “carbon debt” created by the biofuels arboricide will take 167 years to reverse.

The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death.

…

It’s not the environmental movement’s chickenfeedhawks who’ll have to reap what they demand must be sown, but we should be in no doubt about where to place the blame — on the bullying activists and their media cheerleaders and weathervane politicians who insist that the “science” is “settled” and that those who query whether there’s any crisis are (in the designation of the strikingly non-emaciated Al Gore) “denialists.”

…


Whether or not there’s very slight global cooling or very slight global warming, there’s no need for a “war” on either, no rationale for loosing a plague of eco-locusts on the food supply. So why be surprised that totalitarian solutions to mythical problems wind up causing real devastation? As for
Time’s tree, by all means put it up: It helps block out the view of starving peasants on the far horizon.

So why be surprised that totalitarian solutions to mythical problems wind up causing real devastation?

Green is illiterate, green is innumerate, green confuses touchy feely fantasies with rational thought. Green gestures and poses. Green drivels and moans about “people” on the abstract, but is indifferent to the suffering of real, true, concrete individuals, suffering caused as a direct result of the policies implemented by green.

Green kills.

Further evidence of Global Warming

Early falls lift hopes of best ski season for years

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